Law & Order: Season 4, Episode 13

Breeder (19 Jan. 1994)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 62 users  
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Stone and Kincade try to prosecute a woman who is accused of extortion and promising her biological child to multiple couples.

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Title: Breeder (19 Jan 1994)

Breeder (19 Jan 1994) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
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Jane Schuman
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Dorothy Baxter
Ellen Parker ...
Gwen Savitt
Stephen James ...
Les Savitt
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Morris Hoffman
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Stephen Shaw
Marie Masters ...
Mary Cushman
Angie Phillips ...
Debra Elkins
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Storyline

Detectives Briscoe and Logan investigate when a woman, 22 year-old Debra Elkins, is found sitting in an ER waiting room unconscious and hemorrhaging having recently given birth. She says she has no memory of having had the baby - something Lt. Van Buren finds hard to believe - and tracing her movements prior to arriving at the hospital, find the child safe and well in the care of her boyfriend. Everything is in order, or so it seems, until the hospital reports the child has been kidnapped. It seems that the woman who stole the baby was promised the child and had been paying for Elkins' medical and living expenses. Elkins is a schemer who has been very careful to stay within the bounds of the law but when ADA Stone learns that she was stringing along several couples for fairly large amounts of money, he decides to prosecute. Written by garykmcd

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19 January 1994 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Goofs

When Detectives Briscoe and Logan arrive to arrest a suspect in a hotel room, they clearly enter room 208, but moments later, when Logan calls for an ambulance, he says they're in room 512. See more »

Quotes

Hotel Manager: [seeing bloody sheets on hotel bed] My God, what happened here?
Detective Lennie Briscoe: My guess? the miracle of birth.
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Hard Wired.
7 July 2012 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

A young woman is pregnant. She and her boyfriend answer some newspaper ads from childless couples and manage to convince three of the couples, independent of each other, that the child will be theirs. During the pregnancy, the woman and her boyfriend shake down the three couples. They get money for medical care, depression, rent, debts of various sorts, and they threaten abortion if the money isn't paid.

It's an interesting episode because, from a legal perspective, the two frauds have done nothing illegal as long as they haven't signed contracts. They've been very clever in the deployment of insinuations and verbal agreements, but, as a Hollywood mogul put it, "A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's printed on." The episode is engaging for more reasons than just legal ones. There isn't space enough to get into this, but there's reasonably good evidence that something is going on with respect to child bearing and child rearing that we don't know anything about.

Why is it that couples yearn for babies in the first place, especially, it seems, the mothers. From an economic point of view, they're liabilities. It costs a fortune to raise a child. And if you're unlucky enough to bear triplets and they all are accepted to Yale University, you're talking an outlay approaching a million dollars just for their college educations. And in industrialized societies, unlike primitive communities, the children don't live at or near home, so they're of little use to you in your old age. (The government now assumes that function.) Here are three couples who want to adopt a baby whose genotype is unknown to them. They have no idea if the adopted baby will measure up to their expectations or not. My own adopted Korean child had spotty brain damage but, following the advice of the Roman philosopher Seneca, I had lowered expectations and have never been disappointed or angry that he never became the filthy rich doctor or lawyer I would have liked! If he had, I wouldn't be living in this DUMP. Oh -- and he NEVER CALLS.

I'm just kidding about my son but these three couples are dead serious, especially the wives, and nobody understands why we are so anxious to have children. There is so much about human behavior that is simply unknown. The depth of our ignorance is plumbless. It all must involve hard wiring, of course, shaped by evolution because for all of human history except the last one or two hundred years, families with the added labor and skills of children were more likely to survive and pass on their genes than were childless families. Most of us are reduced to explanations like, "Oh, they're so cute." Well, yes, they are, and so is a St. Bernard puppy.

None of this is brought up in the story, naturally, because the title is "Law and Order", not "Evolution and Psychology." But the question lurks unspoken in the background for anyone who dares to look.


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